The Red Sox are not a good team, but while I don’t know if the data supports this, it seems like every game at Fenway is a hard-fought one. This one was no different. Atlanta took the lead five times last night, and fortunately the last one stuck. The day off two days ago really helped as they threw the entire back end of their bullpen at this game. Raisel Iglesias and Dylan Lee each blew saves, though Lee’s was with the stupid extra inning runner. Kenley Jansen gave us some heartache in the 9th just to preserve the lead. This was a white-knuckle game that Atlanta really needed to win, and they did.
It took 9 runs to beat them, so you know town menace Austin Riley was involved. After a triple in the 1st, he smashed a long home run in the third. Both he and Ronald Acuna Jr. had 3 hits apiece, Dansby Swanson had two hits including two doubles, and Michael Harris II also had 2 hits, including a huge run-scoring double in the 8th. Several players had huge hits that in any other game would have been the “biggest hit” of the game, but it was such a wild see-saw game that each one ended up just being equally necessary to squeak past. Another big hit was a run-scoring single by Orlando Arcia, but he popped his hamstring trying to turn it into a double, so now he’s out and will go on the IL. But Ryan noticed a very interesting tweet:
There’s a fella that plays for the team Chris Harris calls for: Vaughn Grissom. Can’t imagine they’d call up Grissom, but his glove is already ready. The same logic for calling up Michael Harris II is the same logic for calling up Vaughn Grissom: he plays a premium defensive position, his glove is ready, and it doesn’t matter a lick if he hits. Who else is going to play? Ehire Adrianza? He’s not going to hit either, and Grissom is an upgrade defensively. Chris, blink twice if it’s Vaughn Grissom.
Here’s another thing about rushing these kids to the big leagues: on the 755 Is Real podcast, Eric O’Flaherty is constantly talking about the great culture the Braves’ farm system has. It’s showing up in the numbers that we are hitting on an extraordinarily high rate of position player prospects. Grissom doesn’t have to hit for him to be helpful, and him not hitting may not ruin him.
I have some extended thoughts about the current state of the roster. Even before Arcia went down, we probably have a couple too many holes to win the division. We don’t have a left fielder, DH, and second baseman. Marcell Ozuna has a 78 wRC+. Eddie Rosario has a 37 wRC+. Robbie Grossman came in with a 78 wRC+, and who knows if he’ll hit. Travis d’Arnaud is in an extended slump, hitting .224/.307/.269 since the beginning of July. Acuna has a .703 OPS since the beginning of July. I could keep going. The bullpen has been hittable. Ian Anderson is in AAA and Charlie Morton is showing his age. I agree with krussell in the comments that one essential component to having a really good team is not having multiple holes. The Braves have multiple holes that need to be filled.
With that said, if Ozuna, Grossman, and/or Rosario could get hot, that helps tremendously. If guys can get rest and get back to their career levels, that would change the trajectory. So there’s enough talent on this team to easily win the Wild Card, and we’ll be in it for this division til the very end.